WHAT I LEARNED: 1. This audiobook version of “Opening Our Hearts” (item # eA-29) has been a long time coming! I first read about it being worked on from pages 107-108 of the “2015 World Service Conference Summary” (item # P-46) & on Sept 12th, 2022 it officially came out & man was it worth the wait! I paid $12.99 (in the United States) but prices vary between the 6 different audio vendors that you can view by clicking here.
2. Unlike the audiobook version of “How Al-Anon Works” (item # eA-22), this entire book seems to have been recorded in a studio (not over the phone). The narrator sounds like a professional voice-over talent & there was just something so soothing 🧘 about how she said the phrase “End Quote” that I found myself looking forward to hearing it each time she started to read a quote.
3. The remaining voices (for the personal sharings segments) are listed as “Anonymous Al-Anon Members.” I really appreciated that there were male-sounding voices reading sharings about their husbands. It lent a bit of gender fluidity to the literature & made this book from 2007 sound very current for 2022. I’m not sure if this was by design (for instance, if the members got to choose which sharing they wanted to read), or whoever was available to read just picked up where the last person left off. Either way, I enjoyed the result because I always love experiencing Al-Anon literature in a new way!
4. The total running time is listed as 5 hours & 37 minutes long but mine had a few sections that were repeated for some reason so it was more like 6 hours long. I’m not sure if this was a vendor issue where there might have been an error encoding the book, but if anyone else comes across this same thing, I’d be curious to know – just leave a comment below this post!
5. For once, this is an Al-Anon audiobook I cannot recommend anyone listening to while driving. I tried this, & there were so many times I was trying to drive while tears were welling up in my eyes that I was having a hard time seeing where I was going! I’ve only read the hard copy version of this book once (click here to see my review posted back in 2014) so there was a lot that I had forgotten… or maybe I didn’t want to remember… because I was in such a dark place at the time. For instance, I’d forgotten that the book also mentions drugs & addiction in several places, & two sharings specifically focus on pets! The one that really got to me was about a cat in Chapter 6: “Death of a Loved One” (pages 106-107 in the hard copy book). It has one of my favorite lines: “…grief is the price I pay for having loved & having been loved well.”
6. There are so many more good quotes I could put in this post, but instead, I felt like this audiobook was giving me the opportunity to shake hands with Grief… sit next to it, & listen to it tell me all about itself. Here is what I heard it say:
- A Process
- A Lesson
- A Security Blanket
- A Doorway
- An Opportunity
- A Journey
- A Teacher
Grief is not:
- An Embarrassment
- A Predictor
- A Race
- A Weakness
- A Destination
How comforting it is to get to meet Grief & discover it is just as complex as I am. And while I have always heard the phrase “Live Life on Life’s Terms,” I think I can now also add to that, that I can “Grieve on Grief’s Terms” by giving myself the space to continue listening & learning all that I can from it. 😌
**BONUS QUESTION: Since I referenced gender fluidity in this post, have you ever wondered what Al-Anon Family Groups’ pronouns are? 🤔 I just saw them listed on one of their media profiles! 😲 Click here to find out where.